Category Archives: SonSolar

ESES, a Master’s Program in Solar Energy Engineeringat Dalarna University

Chris Bales, Lars Broman, Eva Lindberg
Solar Energy Research Center SERC, Dalarna University
SE 781 88 Borlange, SWEDEN
Phone +46 23 778865 Fax +46 23 778701 E-mail eli@du. se

The first group of students was admitted to the European Solar Engineering School, a master’s level two-semester program at Dalarna University in Sweden, in August 1999. Now that the fifth group is all but through their year, some conclusions from our experiences are possible to draw. The paper gives the background of ESES, some information about how the program is arranged, and also some ofthe ESES staffexperiences. Further information on ESES is found on www. eses. org.

1. Introduction

Following the Brundtland Report, Agenda 21 from the Rio Conference, and the EU White Paper on RES (1997) it is obvious that solar energy has gradually to replace non­renewable sources of energy. In this process, university trained engineers play a crucial role. The engineering students of today are the designers of our technological world tomorrow. It is therefore necessary that these young women and men get a good understanding and comprehensive knowledge of renewable energy technology.

In September 1996, we proposed that a European Solar Engineering School ESES should be created, where students from all over Europe can receive appropriate training (Broman etal. 1998). During the summers of 1998and 1999 the first trial courses, in advanced solar thermal engineering and advanced photovoltaic engineering, were given. In November 1998, a curriculum for a one-year master level program in solar energy engineering was sanctioned by the University’s Educational Board. This program has now been run for five years, and a sixth yearwill start in August 2004. The program is open for applications from all over the world. The tuition is free, but living costs have to be covered by the students.

We are sometimes asked "why a master’s solar energy program just in Borlange, out of all places?" The reason is, among others:

* Solar Energy Research Center SERC was started within Dalarna University in 1984 and has since then grown into a center with high academic quality and research in many fields of renewable energy, see www. serc. se.

* John Duffie was guest professor at SERC in 1991 and taught the first master level course in solar thermal engineering here (Boman et. al., 1991).

More on the start of ESES has been presented elsewhere (Broman, 2003).

Mutual recognition of grades

Examination and assessment results are expressed in grades. There are many different grading systems in Europe. The ECTS (European Credit Transfer System) serves as tool for mutual recognition of student achievements.

ECTS credits are a value allocated to course units to describe the student workload required to complete them. They reflect the quantity of work each course requires in relation to the total quantity of work required to complete a full year of academic study at the institution, that is, lectures, practical work, seminars, private work — in the laboratory, library or at home — and examinations or other assessment activities. ECTS credits are also allocated to practical placements and to thesis preparation when these activities form part of the regular programme of study at both the home and host institutions.

ECTS credits are allocated to courses and are awarded to students who successfully complete those courses by passing the examinations or other assessments.

ECTS grades are quoted alongside grades awarded according to the local grading system. Higher education institutions make their own decisions on how to apply the ECTS grading scale to their own system.

Scientific Committee

To guarantee the academic quality and level of the course and to delegate the academic programme management to the adequate body, a Scientific Committee exists, made up of the academic responsible persons for the project at the partner universities.

This Scientific Committee has final authority over any management decision affecting the European Master in Renewable Energy. Regular contact between the members of the Scientific Committee guarantee a smooth communication flow and successful implementation of the course.

Coordination and management

Considerable co-ordination and management is required to deliver such a course, and involves 12 different organizations in total.

EUREC Agency plays a central co-ordination role and provides the initial point of contact for students. It is responsible for admissions, marketing, informing the Scientific Committee and implementing its decisions.

Policy and incentive framework

The purpose of the German cogeneration law is to increase the power production share of CHP plants through bonus payments to generators [BritischeBotschaft 2001]. The payments are designed to maintain and modernise cogeneration capacity, to encourage investment in small units and to aid the commercialisation of fuel-cell CHP units. Other measures in the package include energy saving and the building of new, non-subsidised cogeneration capacity. The complete package is expected to reduce 45 Mt of CO2 emis­sions annually by 2010. (All targets are measured against 1998). These measures are in addition to the voluntary agreement signed with industry in 2000 to reduce CO2 emissions. In that way, fossil fuel consumption and emission rate is expected to decrease. The coge­neration law is seen as an instrument to reach the commitment made in the framework of the Kyoto protocol. In Germany small-scale CHP plants (up to 50 kWe) will receive bonus payments of 5,11 cents/kWh for electricity from cogeneration exported to the public grid for a period of 10 years after the first start-up of the plant. These time-limited bonuses will be paid in addition to the market price for electricity. The recent price currently averages 2.5 cents/kWh [Geiftler 2002]. However, the remuneration for the exported electricity and the benefit from the heat production must offset the investment and operation costs in order to make the investment in CHP plants financially attractive.

With rCHP, the advantages are that power and heat can be generated in the vicinity of the consumer when needs arise. In that way, distribution and storage losses largely vanish. Distribution losses currently account for approx. 6% of the transported electricity in the EU — 15 [Cogen 99]. rCHP will be assigned to produce peak power at full power rate. From the point of view of the grid operator, rCHP will have the function of peak shaving and will alleviate the need for additional peak power plants (i. e. large-scale gas turbine power plants). The simultaneously produced heat will be directed to a thermal storage for a later use in the building. One way to remotely control the rCHP plants, in the event that rCHP are owned by private investors and not by the grid operator, is to send an offer in terms of remuneration for the exported power. The control unit of each rCHP will consider this offer, the usage level of the thermal storage unit and the current need for electricity of the building occupants (on-site electricity consumption), balancing all these factors with the fuel price. The controller will correspondingly set a new operating point for the plant (cost — led decision).

The way it operated is the following: (see Fig.8,9)

Fig. 9 : Two views of the Pyreheliophoro as assembled in St. Louis

The system could be set with its axis AA’ parallel to the Earth’s rotation axis ( an equatorial mount type arrangement — presumably with each model would come the possibility of slight tilt adjustment of the equatorial mount axis to the exact value of the local latitude). Simple tracking around this axis was achieved with ropes pulling on rings C and C’, powered by a clock type mechanism, fixed to the ground immediately below. This would ensure that the sun would always be on a plane perpendicular to the plane of the equatorial mount structure. To concentrate its radiation on the furnace entrance, the system would now move the mirror assembly itself together with the furnace around axis BB’, making the furnace describe an arc of a circle on some sort of a "rail”, with centre on the line BB’. On bar D there was a pulley-chain mechanism to accomplish this movement. This adjustment, done on a daily basis, would ensure that the axis of the paraboloid would point to the sun at all time, during each day, since this whole system also moved as one with the equatorial mount! In short this corresponds to the present day complex 2 axis tracking with step or variable speed electrical motors, with sun sensors and/or computer assistance used in high concentration solar optics, substituted by a simple clock — constant speed — and potentially very accurate tracking system!. Indeed a very clever and practical solution, essential for the very high concentration Father Himalaya set out to achieve and otherwise outright impossible in a practical way, without the devices we have today.

The device was operated during the fair, to the amazement of its countless visitors. The best measure of its success is the fact that it got the Grand Prize.

Several books [15,16,17] and newspapers of the day[18, 19,20,21]referred to this event, reporting specifically about the Pyrheliophoro. There was even a mention of it in Scientific American [22]. In Portugal there were countless references in the press [1].

Father Himalaya only got three very clear days during which he claims to have obtained at least 3800°C, a very impressive achievement for the day.

U. S. Entrepreneurs wanted to take it (or make copies of it) to display its capabilities for the public in other fairs. The fact that iron was so easily melted or that it could turn into smoke, almost instantaneously, a piece of wood placed in the furnace was true source of wonderment for everybody.

Father Himalaya would have none of it. He wanted his system to be used in more noble applications, as he put it, namely in industries like those requiring higher temperatures than the ones obtainable at that time through combustion or electric arcs (<3500°C).

Rings C, C’

Clock Mechanism Furnace

Fig.9(a) view of the Pyrehliophoro (b) Schematic drawing of the Pyreheliophoro [14]

He got nowhere in his fights over what to do with the system, its potential buyers and the U. S. patent office which never granted him the classification of industrial interest that he so desperately wanted. Perhaps this is why so little was written by him directly about it.

The Pyreheliophero was dismantled, not before Father Himalaya tried — and did not succeed — to give it to the local University. He tried also other institutions, like the Carnegie Institute, but to no avail. It could also not stay on the fair grounds. The decision came from a Mr. Skinker, invoking two major flaws he had found in the system’s design. He didn’t write about which ones.

It vanished after a while. Robbed, to be destroyed, as some claim? Dismantled and simply carried away, piece by piece and lost in time and place? It certainly enjoyed a very bright, but very short career, right at the dawn of the oil era.

Closing Remarks or the Technical Ecology

The increased enviromental pollution and the wasting of energy reserves will lead to total catastrophe. Numerous organizations try to draw attention to this fact at various
forums, however, with little access. As a first step we have to change are attitude towards this issue then we can reverse this defective growth. The change of thinking is one of the most difficult problems which can be effectively started only in education. One of educational aims of our College is to form learned personalities into enviromentally and ecologically responsible peoples. How can different specialists — for example theelectrical engineer — participates in this enviromental protection work and prevent total catastrophe? Technical Ecology, mentioned in the subtitle would like to contribute to this.


Fig.6. The symbol

The discipline of Technical Ecology is introduced as the analogue of physical chemistry. This novel discipline investigates the interaction of natural enviroment and the artifical systems. The enviroment is investigated in the view-point of technical things. In other words, how can we construct and work a technical equipment that it would not put pressure on nature. This subject does not only have special but also many general ideas for the enviromental engineering. The Technical Ecology means not only a discipline but a series of subjects which contain ecological construction, utilization of renewable energy sources etc. [7]. The concept is symbolized with the picture in Fig. 6.


[1] A. Nemcsics: Ecological and Enviromental Construction; Publisher of KKMF,

Budapest (1999) (in Hungarian)

[2] A. Nemcsics: Trends of Development of Solar Cells; Proc. of XVth. TUSZ,

Centenarium Kando Conference 1998, 7-8 Mai 1998

[3] A. Nemcsics: Solar Cells and their Developing Perspective; Academic Publisher,

Budapest (2001) (in Hungarian)

[4] A. Nemcsics: The Operating of Solar Cells and their Types and Applications;

Publisher of KkMf, Budapest (1999) (in Hungarian)

[5] A. Nemcsics: Die Solarzellen in dem Umweltschutzproject der Technischen

Hochschule Budapest; Proc. Of XVIth. TUSZ, Kando Conference 2002, 60 years of engineering training 14-15 November 2002

[6] A. Nemcsics: The Architecture of Solar Cells and the Solar Cells in Architecture;

Proc. Of Building Physics Symposium 4-6. 10 1995, Budapest

[7] A. Nemcsics: Novel Subject ont he College: Technical Ecology for Electrical

Engineers; Proc. of Xvth. TUSZ, Centenary Kando Conference 1998, 7-8 Mai 1998

[8] www. dunasolar. hu

[9] A. Nemcsics: Novel Material for Electrochemical Solar Cell; ibid

[10] B. Mogyorosi, A. Nemcsics: Solar Cells in Illuminating Engineering; 29th Colouristic

Symposium 26-28 May 2003 Eger

Didactical concept

• The problems are chosen that way, that the needed mathematical contents in order to solve them are part of mathematics school curricula.

• Advantageously every problem should concentrate on a special mathematical topic, such that it can be integrated in an existing teaching unit; as project-oriented problems referring to several mathematical topics are seldom picked up by teachers.

• The problems should not afford special knowledge of teachers concerning future energy issues and especially physical matters. For this reason all nonmathematical information and explanations concerning the problem’s foundations are included in separated text frames.

• By going on this way information in respect to future energy issues is provided for both, teachers and students, helping them to concern themselves with the topic.

In order to promote renewable energy issues in mathematics classrooms, the authors have developed a special didactical concept to open this field for students, as well as for their teachers. The cornerstones of this didactical concept are:

This didactical concept was first published by the authors at the ‘12. Internationales Sonnenforum 2000′ in Freiburg [6]. On its basis, we have constructed and worked out several series of mathematical problems for secondary classrooms concerning the topics of rational usage of energy, photovoltaic, biomass, wind energy, thermal solar energy, traffic and transport; further problems for example to hydro power are in preparation.

We have presented our concept and problem examples in several conferences respectively teacher education events ([7], [8], [9], [10], [11], [12], [13], [14], [15], [16], [17],

[18] ), with much positive reactions. The authors are grateful for the broad support they earned and the valuable hints and materials they received with regard to the development of further problems.


Ion VISA, Transilvania University of Brasov, Center for Sustainable Development, Romania

Anca DUTA, Tranislvania University of Brasov, Centre for Sustainable Development, Romania

Introduction: Education is the path for ensuring a long-lasting implementation of the principles of Sustainable Development. In any of its chapters, this education must follow a coherent approach, starting with the trainers of the youngsters, with the young pupils, students and going to adults.

The Centre for Sustainable Development, in the Transilvania University of Brasov, Romania provides a training line on Sustainable Energy, with a strong orientation on Renewable Energy Systems, Research and Education are synergic integrated in developing a strategy that involves not only the university area but is extended to the regional community and targets the national and European priorities.

1. The Needs

To build up a society consciously applying the principles of sustainable development, needs the involvement of the promoters, developers and consumers. This goal can be attended only if a real strategy for education and training is designed and implemented, starting with the very young members of the society and going to the adults, key factors and decision makers. Although the concept was clearly stated more than 15 years ago, through the Brundtland Report, [1], the development dynamics is ascending and is supported by intense research, therefore integrating research and education represents a necessity and a powerful tool.

The Sustainable Energy, as an important part of the Sustainable Development includes scientific, economical, social and educational aspects related to energy efficiency, energy saving and renewable energy systems (RES), [2-4].

At European level, the development and implementation of the sustainable energy components is uneven represented. There are "market leaders” in the EU countries and there are, especially among the central and eastern European countries, parts where RES has only started to be considered as a real economical and strategic option.

Romania has, as one of the national priority, the sustainable development, [5] and steps have already been taken in order to support, at national level, this aim. The particular answer(s) must be shaped according to the mentalities, economical level and training offer. There is a certain tradition related to small hydros in the mountains region and already 30 years before PVs were implemented — for a short time — in some areas. But, these are only punctual steps.

The national strategy, complying well with the European one includes also the implementation of RES, the energy analysis of the existing industrial processes, the exergy of the products and a complex of actions regarding the increase of the thermal protection in buildings (residential and industrial).

Considering the European and national requirements along with the regional potential and needs the Transilvania University of Brasov developed, starting five years ago, a group of activities that targeted different education and research levels of the sustainable energy.

In November 2003 a institutional structure was initiated — The Centre for Sustainable Development — aiming to act, according to a coherent strategy, for integrating the groups in and outside the university in research and training projects on this subject.

The ESES Curriculum

ESES is a 1-year program consisting of four compulsory courses during one semester and one semester of (full time) project work. The courses are:

* Advanced solar thermal engineering.

* Advanced photovoltaic engineering.

* Applied solar energy engineering.

* Utilization of solar energy.

ESES uses predominantly internationally well-known textbooks; presently Duffie-Beckman (1991), Garg-Kandpal (1999, 2003), and Markvart (1996). Courses also include laboratory work in both solar thermal and PV, simulations with PVSyst, TRNSYS, etc., and study visits.

Thesis work usually consists of an independent task within a current SERC research project, and the students get lots of interaction with both senior researchers and graduate students. Some projects are carried out in collaboration with an external company or with another university. After completion of their studies, the students receive a Master’s Degree in Solar Engineering. The curriculum was presented in some detail at ISREE-8 (Broman and Gertzen 2002) and is available (along with other information) at the ESES home page www. eses. org. For application rules and forms, go to the Dalarna University home page www. du. se.

Alumni network

EUREC Agency is creating an network of former students to keep track of their career development, to monitor which percentage of graduates find work in the RE sector as planned, which sectors are most likely to employ graduates and how long students have to look for a job upon graduation. The results of this monitoring are not available yet, as the first students have only received their final diplomas at the end of 2003. However, half of them is already working in their discipline of specialisation, an encouraging sign.

Table 1: 2003 — 2004 Student Overview Core / Specialisation




hybrid systems

solar build
























Ecole des Mines
















EU students


% EU students:


Non-EU students


% Non-EU students:



The medium objective consists in establishing the European Master in RE as a reference in the field of Master-grade RE education on EU level, while taking into account the EU enlargement. In practical terms, this means promoting the course with the renewables industry, increasing the number of participating universities within the EU in order to cope with the growing number of students and extend the geographic scope to the East.

Given the high number of applications received from developing countries’ students, an adapted replication of the course is under consideration for Asia and later on for Latin America.

Research-universities-industry collaboration

EUREC Agency, the European association of renewable energy research centres, makes sure the course curriculum fully and timely integrates all relevant new R&D results. EUREC members being R&D centres and universities as well, the network takes care of transferring knowledge from research laboratories into the classrooms. On the other side, the continuous dialogue with the RE industry guarantees that the teaching remains sector-relevant. After all, the course has ultimately been set up to serve the RE industry.

About EUREC Agency

EUREC Agency, the Association of European Renewable Energy Research Centres, initiated this first European RE Master in 2002 with support from the European Commission.

EUREC Agency fosters contact and exchange among RE R&D, academia, industry and policy-makers through multiple research, training and information projects on Eu level.

All further information on the European master in renewable energy is available on

the EUREC Agency website at http://www. eurec. be/REmaster

Applications & inquiries: E-mail : master@eurec. be or Phone : +32 2 546 1930

Analysis method

Transient simulation has been carried out to investigate the effects of varying the remuneration tariff in terms of value and time distribution in comparison to the current situation where the bonus is not seasonally dependent. In that way, the interactions between all system components of the heating system with either the rCHP, or the solar thermal system can be considered in a detailed fashion.

Control algorithms have been especially developed for rCHP. One of them, the control algorithm developed in [Vetter u. Wittwer 2002] offers the possibility to operate the rCHP while minimising primary energy consumption or energy cost (i. e. cost-driven control but limited by the maximal heat capacity of the storage unit).

Fig. 1: Simplified schematic diagram of a fuel processor including a steam reformer, a gas burner, a shift converter, preferential oxidation and heat exchangers.

The computations presented in this paper are based on the thermal load pattern of a low — energy home with a space heating load of approx. 78 kWh/m2a and a living area of approx.

The heating system based on a PEMFC (proton-exchange membrane fuel-cell) has been modelled considering all stages for the natural gas processing (reforming, CO shifting, preferential oxidation, …, see Fig. 1) and the performance of the PEM stack, the inverter, the various heat exchangers and the balance of plant. This model enables the description of dynamic processes (starts, stops and load variation) and the interactions between the various system components (i. e. the influence of the storage temperature on the thermal performance of the rCHP).

Fig. 2: System diagram of the heating system with PEMFC

Fig. 3: Monthly heat output from the various energy convertors of a low-energy home. The rCHP considered in this example is a 2 kWe PEMFC.

180 m2. The rCHP is of the PEMFC type with a nominal electric power output of 2 kW (see Fig. 2). The building model picks up data for the space and domestic hot water (DHW) heat load computation from a database. The yield of an optional solar thermal system is calculated with a dedicated model that has been parameterised with 5 m2 of solar absorber area. The thermal storage tank has a volume of 750 litres. Simulation results are depicted on a monthly basis in Fig. 3.

In the case of energy cost optimisation, several CHP bonus patterns as well as several remuneration approaches have been investigated (i. e. constant remuneration or varying with the price fluctuation at the Leipzig power stock exchange).